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Authored by John Miller

If you’ve got your eyes set on Russia for your next vacation, then there’s certainly no looking back! Its grandeur and opulence in combination with the harshness of its climate will cast a spell on you.

As one of the most beautiful winter destinations in the world, Russia owes its popularity to the incredibly scenery and the majestic places it has to offer. Here is a list of only a few of them.

Moscow

You can’t go to Russia and not visit Moscow! This cosmopolite metropolis of more than ten million people is a fascinating blend of culture, nightclubs, and history. It is so diverse that you may just end up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by all it has to offer.

Top attractions in Moscow include the Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, the Kremlin and great museums (such as the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art or the Tretyakov Gallery).

Also, make sure you don’t miss their incredible subway system and some of the most beautiful stations you’ll ever see, such as Ploschad Revolutsii, Komsomolskaya, Mayakovskaya or Novoslobodskaya.

Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

Komsomolskaya metro station, Moscow

The Trans-Siberian Railway

At 9,000 kilometers, the Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world, and one of the greatest rail journeys on earth. It traverses Siberia, connecting Moscow to Vladivostok, and represents a once in a lifetime trip that allows you to explore and understand Russia from the comfort of a train.

The journey usually lasts around a week, depending on your preferred route. And not only are the prices lower in winter than in the summertime, but there are also fewer tourists. That way, you can meet more locals and actually experience the Russian culture.

Taking the Trans-Siberian trip during the cold season will also reveal the true Russian winter you’ve only read about in books; when Siberia is at its most beautiful, snowy and photogenic.

St Petersburg

St Petersburg in winter has been describes as like “stepping into a Russian novel”. Frozen rivers and canals form part of a white sculptural landscape, which is absolutely enchanting, and snowflakes glisten in the sun.

National Geographic summed it up perfectly when they said “the beauty and culture of this Russian city are never more pronounced than when it is covered in a blanket of snow. A dusting of white ramps up the fairy-tale factor of architectural gems like the immense Winter Palace and ornate Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.”

The city is a hub for outdoor winter activities, with ice-skating and skiiing the most popular local pass times. Victory Park has one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in the country. Temperatures rarely rise above freezing though, so you should pre-book a St Petersburg taxi online so you don’t have to wait outside.

Lake Baikal

Now part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage, Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest freshwater lake, measuring a depth of approximately 1600 meters, and completely frozen during winter.

Due to its location in remote Siberia, Lake Baikal is not a huge tourist destination. And wintertime brings even fewer tourists, which is unfortunate because the frozen white landscape is breathtaking and like nothing else in this world.

You can get to the lake either via Irkutsk city or Ulan-Ude, a fascinating Buddhist city. Severobaykalsk is another option, as well. In addition to the extraordinary landscape, you can also enjoy plenty of fun activities here, such as skating, skiing, dog sleighing or fishing trips.

Lake Baikal

Olkhon Island

The Republic of Yakutia

The Sakha Republic or Yakutia is Russia’s largest region, covering about 18% of its surface (almost the size of India, as a comparison.) It’s also one of the coldest places on Earth with average winter temperatures going as low as -30 degree Celsius. The record is -67C set in settlement of Oymyakon, in 1933!

If you want to experience an extreme climate, Yakutia is the perfect destination. The coldest period is from December to late February when it just so happens that prices drop and trip costs are significantly reduced. Just be sure to prepare yourself for the weather.

PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND FOR RUSSIA IN WINTER: CLICK PHOTOS ↓

Universal Travel Adaptor

Smartwool Cozy Cabin Crew

Sorel Winter Carnival Boot

SPREAD THE WORD! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

When he is not immersing himself in new cultures, meeting new people, and tasting new foods, John Miller loves writing and learning new languages. Check his blog, pretravels.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Photo credits: Featured header image by Tony. Saint Basil’s Cathedral by Sergey Rodovnichenko. Komsomolskaya metro station by Victor Bergmann. St Isaacs by Derren Hodson. Olkhon Island (standing on Lake Bikal) by Marco Fieber.

    35 Comments

  1. I’ve been to Russia couple of times – one during winter time like February and its really really really cold. Very good recommendations for gears and the other during summer time.

    • Awesome Tanj! Lol yes, definitely need to be prepared for the cold! Especially if heading into Siberia in the wintertime :D

    • Thanks for your comment Tanj, yes Russia during the Winter is certainly not for those who cannot deal with cold weather :)

  2. Growing up as a kid in the 80’s in America, Russia has always held an iconic location in my thoughts. It always started with Red Square, but then I realized how much more to Russia there was. Lake Baikal is so different from any other body of water (even Lake Tahoe) that it is definitely on the must see list.

    • It’s definitely a huge country with so much more to offer than most people assume. Growing up in Australia, Russia didn’t play too much into our politics or influences, but I did know about Moscow, and St Petersburg – now that I’ve started learning about the rest of the country though I would love to travel too :)

    • Yes you are right, there are many stereotypes for Russia but the reality is that it’s a huge country with a lot of diversity, thanks for your comment :)

  3. The Trans Siberian train is probably something I would love to try out. Spending a week on a train for a week sounds thrilling.

    • At the top of my own bucketlist too!

    • It would certainly be an adventure :) Thanks for your comment Gokul!

  4. Wow Russia does look like a fantastic place to spend winter there! The ice looks so thick and beautiful.

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

    • It certainly is :) Thanks for your comment Chloe!

  5. I loved Moscow including its metro stations While your photos are lovely, I am not sure I would be very happy on a Siberian train for a week in the middle of the winter.

    • Aren’t the Moscow metro stations divine!! Have never seen anything like it in my life! You can always catch the Trans Siberian in summer too … the landscapes are a a lot more magical covered in snow though :D!

    • Yep Moscow Metro is amazing :) Thanks for your comment Rhonda!

  6. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Moscow to see the Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, and the Kremlin! Thanks for opening my eyes to some other amazing things to see and do, I’d love to see Lake Baikal frozen like that!

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon! Yes, definitely consider spending time throughout the rest of the country too :)

    • Me too I hope you visit not only Moscow but many other places in Russia! Thanks for your comment! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your post too Kenny!

    • Yep many places look like they are out of this world! Thanks for your comment :)

  7. Russia is such a beautiful country. With buildings, landscapes that differ from one region to the other. I have a friend who has made a life for himself in Moscow, maybe it’s time to pay him a visit.

    • Sounds like a great excuse to plan a trip … and free accommodation / tour guide too :D!

    • Yep it’s time to visit your friend! Thanks for your comment Mike :)

  8. Russia continues to loom large on our wish list. The Trans-Siberian is way up top of that list. I think we will need to wait to we don’t have any kids to it. I am sure we will make it to St Petersburg sooner. The subway station are like museums

    • The subway stations really are like museums – I’ve never seen anything like it! Sounds like a great first trip to plan once the kids get old enough to leave behind … though I’m sure they would love it too!

    • There are so many places to see! Thanks for your comment :)

  9. That would be a magnificent winter experience. I’d love to explore the natural wonders of Russia.

    • Yes it’s certainly an amazing experience! Thanks for your comment!

  10. This raises my yearning even higher to travel to Russia! Very interesting and so informative.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Ute! Maybe we’ll bump into your while exploring Russia soon!

  11. Thank you for the wonderful material! I recommend that you come to St. Petersburg in winter!

    • Thanks for the tip George – we surely won’t miss St Petersburg if we manage Russia in the winter :)

  12. I lived in Russia during the winter for a study abroad and fell in love with St. Petersburg. I’ve since taken my husband to Moscow in December. Apparently I have a thing for Russia and the wintertime!

    • What an experience Miri! St. Petersburg is definitely a city to melt your heart – so fabulous to hear that you’ve managed to get back with your husband. Maybe we’ll bump into you in Russia in a winter to come :) Really is a magical time of year!

      Thanks for reading.

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